X-Men: Dark Phoenix (Nov. 2)
Simon Kinberg and the Fox franchise return to Marvel Comics’ influential “Dark Phoenix Saga” in the fittingly titled X-Men: Dark Phoenix. After shoehorning the cosmic storyline into 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand as a mundane subplot, veteran series writer/producer Kinberg seeks redemption of his own with his directorial debut.
Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) reprises her role as young Jean Grey from X-Men: Apocalypse in a story that will weave together the rise and fall of Phoenix, Magneto and Genosha, and Jessica Chastain’s mysterious shape-shifting alien. Although Kinberg has teased a “grounded” approach to the epic, evoking unpleasant memories of The Last Stand, Dark Phoenix promises at least one mission into space, ensuring the film will indeed contain some of the necessary cosmic elements.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Dec. 14)
Phil Lord and Chris Miller were wildcards to direct Solo: A Star Wars Story, but the LEGO Movie filmmakers seem like the perfect choice by Sony to subvert expectations for a Spider-Man feature. What better way to do so than by focusing on Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
The teaser trailer promises a lot: a breathtaking animation style, Miles (Shameik Moore) meeting up with whom we assume to be Peter, and well, a whole lot of action. Marvel Comics’ 2014 storyline “Spider-Verse” depicted web-slingers from alternate Earths fighting off the vampire Morlun (voiced in the film by Liev Schrieber), so we’re waiting to see which other heroes appear. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Silk (a new character who was bitten by Peter’s radioactive spider), Spider-Gwen (Gwen Stacy from another Earth), Anya Corazon as Spider-Girl, Spider-Man 2099, May “Mayday” Parker (Peter and Mary Jane’s daughter from an alternate future) and Spider-Ham are all possibilities.
Aquaman (Dec. 21)
Jason Momoa’s fleeting introduction as Aquaman in 2016’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice led to a prominent role this year in Justice League, and then in director James Wan’s solo film, which promises to elaborate on the hero’s lineage and birthright. Fans are eager to see how Aquaman’s relationship with Mera (Amber Heard) evolves, as well as the dynamic with his brother Orm (Patrick Wilson).
Wan’s film is shaping up to be a royal and political drama, but also a story of family, love and eventually, betrayal, as the Atlanteans don’t have much love for the surface world. The visuals of Atlantis were disappointing in Justice League, so hopefully Aquaman will improve on those, with Wan’s vision hinting at an underwater take on Star Wars.
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